When the Boston Bruins lost their season finale to the Ottawa Senators and finished second in the Northeast Division instead of first, they lost their season-long battle to the Montreal Canadiens, who won the division title.
The Bruins are an accomplished team led by veteran talent like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
There were no tears in the locker room about losing the regular-season honor and dropping to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
When the second season came into focus, the Bruins liked what they saw. They had a first-round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team they had dominated with nine wins in their last 10 games.They had been particularly tough on the Leafs in 2011-12, sweeping all six games, and many of those wins were by significant margins. Even when the Bruins weren't at their best, when they saw the blue and white Maple Leafs jersey, they breathed a sigh of relief and rolled.
But the first-round playoff series has not been a cakewalk for the Bruins. The matchup officially was transformed into a struggle when the Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 victory in Game 5. The win was the Maple Leafs' second victory in Boston.The Bruins still lead the series 3-2. So far the Leafs have not been able to solve the Bruins in games at the Air Canada Center, but head coach Randy Carlyle's team appears to be growing and changing as this series progresses. The Bruins may end up surviving and advancing, but they have learned that these are not the same old Buds.
The Bruins might like to point to things they have done wrong in the two games they have lost in the series—not starting well, poor defensive positioning—but that doesn't tell the whole story.The Leafs are playing well and they are using their best assets to push the Bruins hard.Two of those assets are speed and quickness. They always had that edge on paper, but they haven't been able to use that edge to their advantage consistently until this series.
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